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L&D Pro Challenges: Managing Stakeholder Expectations

L&D pros are challenged with limited budgets, small teams, and an overall gap in demonstrating return on investment (ROI). To tackle these challenges, and others, L&D professionals must demonstrate business impact. Challenges can come from projects, people, process, and even just from learning to manage stakeholder expectations. Here are 3 specific L&D challenges that are often revealed in the attempt to make sure everyone involved is getting what they expect out of the L&D experience.

Managing unrealistic expectations

Stakeholders often get very involved with L&D programs, especially at a high level. They want to see their visions come to life, and sometimes they can develop higher level expectations than is realistic given the project. There is a time and a place for L&D, but not every problem can be solved with more training. Making sure you are in communication with key stakeholders early and often throughout the process will help you to level-set those expectations and ultimately help you achieve more over the length of your project.

Timeline confusion

Another common source of miscommunication can stem from timelines. Sometimes needs are not quite communicated, or are changed over the length of a project, or need to be expanded as the scope of a program becomes more clearly revealed. The important thing to remember is that timelines change, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be communicated. Again, looping in stakeholders early and often will help you achieve your goals and keep your project on time and on budget. Maintaining a shared calendar can help, but don’t assume that key stakeholders will take the initiative to stay on top of all the changes you make. Take the time to communicate important deadlines

Understanding impact

The impact of a one-off eLearning course is often limited, but so too is the impact of a strategic learning and development initiative. Measurement of impact is important, and communication of those metrics is even more important. But Understanding where the education gaps might be will help you align your expectations with those of your trainees, your corporate leadership, and your company as a whole. The thing to remember that in order to communicate impact, you need to know what you’re measuring against. You need data to support your messaging. And you need buy-in on the projects that you know will deliver the most value. Education is important. Visibility is important too. Think of every L&D program as a mini marketing project that you need to invest in. Doing so will help your stakeholders better understand what you’re going for, looking to achieve, and measuring against on the offset.

Every L&D program will inevitably run into several challenges over the course of your timeline. Knowing what those challenges are can help to prepare and mitigate for them. The most important thing is to communicate value and engage your stakeholders, from your trainees to your management and L&D team. L&D benefits companies in measurable and important ways. Make sure you’re tracking against that and communicating that value.


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